A hundred years ago, Martha died. At 1 p.m. on September 1, 1914, the last individual of a wild blue dove whose flocks once numbered billions and blackened the American skies for days fell over dead in her Cincinnati zoo cage.
Honestly, it seems like there is maybe one week of summer we can actually enjoy. I don't care if there is pumpkin spice lattes to be had and school supplies to be bought. Summer doesn't end for weeks. Let's stop rushing through the season.
It was worth the wait for Hillary Clinton to speak out. Clinton skipped the platitudes and echoed the uncomfortable truths that black men are routinely profiled, disproportionately pack America's jails and prisons, and get longer sentences than white males.
I watched the Minaj twerk fest once, and tears welled up. Not for joy. But because I remembered my mother and a whole host of proud black sistahs who fought sooooo hard to be something other than their asses.
If you're young, black and female, your identity might be a liability. Recent studies have proven that online dating can be tainted by racism.
Breastfeeding is our symbol to the world that I will make my best effort to commit to giving my baby the best first food possible, despite my circumstances. And if for some reason if I am unable to, then it was not for lack of trying.
While this was a controversy over a comic book character, it really played to a larger discussion on race-relations that continues to take place throughout most, if not all, of America. Why shouldn't a talented actor be considered to play a fictional character regardless of race?
The cumulative and convergent toll of subtle, but discouraging, adult actions in schools and other child-serving systems they come into contact with too often impedes the success of children of color, especially those who are poor, and burdens them with an emotional toll they don't deserve.
The crime of killing someone is now turned into a battle of narratives where the only other person who could challenge the narrative is dead, and millions of people simply believe that the unarmed black man deserved his fate.
"Mommy," he piped up from the back seat in his sweet little voice, "I don't like people who have different skin color than mine." My brain sort of froze, but I stayed on the road as I gulped in discomfort.
It's impossible to delineate every way race affects us every day, but a cursory examination of major structural racial problems can give us a feeling for how far we still have to go.
The election of Barack Obama was the Lexington and Concord in the latest great battle of race in America. We are a nation at war with itself. For all of our desire to move beyond the narrow confines of many of the events of our tragic history, we cannot. The president's election gave new life to what had been lying dangerously dormant for the better part of 50 years.
Investment types often trot out the cautionary phrase, "past performance does not necessarily predict future results." And for good reason. Clients must understand that their financial tomorrow is no guarantee. Yet when it comes to the question of whether we are doing enough to ensure that we won't outlive our resources in retirement, we can learn a lot from history.
Beverly Hills police and city officials predictably circled the wagon after news broke of the humiliating, embarrassing and potentially dangerous wrongful arrest of noted African-American filmmaker and producer Charles Belk.
Closing the achievement gap for minority students is always the topic of discussion and it seems to me that we have at least a partial solution right in front of us. Implementing year-round schooling will lead to minority students who are more engaged with their academics.
Let's get real, America. Only by acknowledging and dealing with the continued importance of race as a principal underlying cause of our deficiencies can we ever hope to deal with and resolve those defects in our nation.
Only by participating in the political process, building trust and cooperation with people unlike us, and using our smartphone cameras to expose official misconduct can we make America -- to borrow Dr. King's words -- be true to what we said on paper.
While music and art are entertaining, this is not entertainment. This is the residue of what I feel to be a spiritual and physical quest for a freedom that we can all share.
Black Voices continues to celebrate Black Music Month by recognizing seven CDs in the gospel genre by African American artists. These spiritual gems are some of the most overlooked works in gospel music, but BV Blogger Jawn Murray chose them as the seven projects every music lover must have!
Kim Burrell's 'Everlasting Life' (Tommy Boy/1998): Like Van Gough and Picasso, Kim Burrell's 'Everlasting Life' is considered by most musicians and singers as a priceless piece of art. Burrell was able to take her jazz-fused, raspy alto -- and all its acrobatics -- and sing an assortment of songs in a genre-blurring style. Cleverly not allowing the intricate vocal arrangements to be overshadowed, Burrell weaves in and out of energetic numbers such as 'I'll Keep Holding On' and mid-tempo grooves like 'Over and Over, Again.' Burrell's jazz appreciation is on display as she sings about God's goodness on 'I Found Him' and 'Lift Jesus.' She also mesmerizes on ballads like 'Prodigal Son,' 'Oh Lord' and 'Holy Ghost,' where her voice and the complex vocal choices she often makes captivates listeners. A classic!
JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise – 'Live: The Praise...The Worship' (Light Records/2005): There has been a separation of the soulful Sunday-morning sounds of the black church and the new-age Praise & Worship movement. On 'Live: The Praise...The Worship,' JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise finally capture the best of both worlds and find a musical balance that is not only affective, but also births songs that will be anthems for years to come. The CD kicks off like a worship service, and the energetic 'You Are So Awesome' sets the tone for what's to come. 'Incredible God,' the CD's breakout hit, is a celebratory ballad that speaks to God's goodness. The Connecticut-based choir gets contemporary, with help from Jonathan Nelson on 'Shift This Place,' while his brother Jason Nelson's matchless tenor shines on 'Oh Holy Lamb.' 'Live: The Praise...The Worship' is a call-and-response CD with material that listeners can sing along to and invoke the spirit of Sunday morning into their personal space. One of the best choir records released in the last five years!
Coko's 'Grateful' (Light Records/2006): As one of the music's most underrated voices, Cheryl Clemons, professionally known as Coko, shines in her solo gospel debut. The SWV front woman, best known for belting R&B hits like 'Weak,' 'Anything' and 'Rain,' sings sacred songs on 'Grateful,' a Grammy-nominated collection of great gospel material. Likely the best gospel recording by an R&B singer since Aretha Franklin's 'Amazing Grace,' Coko delivers better than she ever has on this ambitious studio record. She's impressive on the remake of the Tramaine Hawkins' classic 'Look at Me,' and cleverly tackles The Clark Sisters' 'Endow Me' with the help of fellow R&B stars Faith Evans, Fantasia and Lil' Mo. Coko's soprano soars on the powerful 'Hymn Medley,' while her enchanting tone is showcased on the Donald Lawrence-produced 'Holy.' Whether you're stomping your feet to 'Clap Your Hands' or bobbing your head to the R&B-friendly title track; this CD features a variety of offerings and all of them are good! A must-have.
VaShawn Mitchell's 'Promises' (Tyscot/2007): While many of his peers are recording material with mainstream urban influence, VaShawn Mitchell writes and sings songs that are meant to be sung in church. On 'Promises,' Mitchell captures every aspect of an individual's personal relationship with God, from giving him an energetic 'Crazy Praise' to the declaration ballad 'I'll Just Lift My Hands.' The emotional 'I Worship You' tells a story of God's omnipotence, while on 'Passed Over Me,' Mitchell chants about how God's mercy kept him out of harm's way. Kim Burrell guests on 'Over and Over,' while Angela Spivey takes 'Testimony' to a whole other level. And if the praise party feel of 'For My Good' isn't enough for you, Mitchell gives you a good Holy Ghost experience with his 'Chicago Bump' as well.
Lexi's 'A Praise in the Valley' (Holy Music/2005): After years of recording R&B-friendly contemporary gospel CDs, Lexi found her niche with 'A Praise in the Valley,' a solid live recording of both Praise & Worship and Sunday morning-suited material. On the disc, Lexi brings forth the complete church experience and songs such as 'I've Been Redeemed,' 'He Got Up' and 'Testify, Lexi offers songs that listeners can sing along to. The contemporary Christian ballad – that's what they call White gospel – 'My Heart Belongs to You' featuring Nicole Binion is one of the highlights of the CD. The dynamic Kim Burrell guests on 'Not Until,' and Lexi gets help from William "Praise is What I Do" Murphy on 'Wherever the Lord Is.' Though Lexi is likely best known for being a TV personality and host, just one listen to 'Praise in the Valley' and there will be no doubt that she's a singer first!
Ann Nesby's 'In the Spirit' (Shanachie/2006): Former Sounds of Blackness singer Ann Nesby captures old-school church on 'In the Spirit.' Whether you're young or old, her interpretation of these classic gospel hits will have you clapping your hands and singing along. From Albertina Walker's 'God In Prayer' to the Thompson Community Singers' 'Rise Up and Walk,' Nesby puts her soulful stamp on traditional gospel songs in a way that channels a storefront church revival. Cleverly, Nesby delivers a devotional version of Stevie Wonder's 'Heaven is Ten Zillion Light Years Away' and even offers a funky version of Bill Withers' 'Grandma's Hands.' Whether she is singing Donald Lawrence's 'If I Can't Say a Word' or public domain hymns like 'Oh How I Love Jesus,' one really feels 'In the Spirit' on this musical journey with Nesby.
Deitrick Haddon's 'Crossroads' (Verity/2004): Deitrick Haddon is constantly reinventing himself, and usually his innovative approach to music is a little before its time. On his opus 'Crossroads,' Haddon pairs the musicianship of soul icons like Stevie Wonder and pop idols like Michael Jackson with good ole gospel numbers. The energetic 'God is Good' is a Praise & Worship and Dance Ministry favorite, while the Detroit-bred singer channels the King of Pop on 'U.N.I.T.Y.' Haddon croons like the best R&B balladeers on tracks like 'What Love,' 'Won't Stop Praying' and 'God Didn't Give Up,' while taking a more traditional gospel approach to the churchified 'Prayer Changes Things' and 'Had Not Been,' which features one of his musical mentors, Rance Allen. Overall, 'Crossroads' embodies its album's title, an immaculate blend of both mainstream music and traditional gospel both merged together by Haddon's heavenly tenor.
Check out Jawn Murray's other Black Music Month's picks: